Google is launching a micro-payment scheme through which visitors to websites can make small payments to enable them to continue using their beloved ad blockers.
For millions of people who surf the net, ad blockers have been a reliable defence against continuous bombardment by extremely annoying and sometimes traumatising ads, which often pop up on the screen in large numbers at the most inopportune moments.
People might not have developed such antipathy towards ads if they blended in to the website they were visiting or integrated with the video they were watching. It’s the disruption that’s the problem – the derailment of readers’ trains of thought that drives people to use ad blockers.
And that’s not even taking into consideration the ads that fall below even Google’s money-grubbing standards, which – to be fair to the search giant – are in line with standards developed by the Coalition for Better Ads, whoever they are.
According to the Financial Times, Google’s micro-payments scheme will provide publishers with “funding choices”, wherein they can set prices for their content – or require ad blockers to be turned off.
At the moment, some publishers already require visitors to turn off ad blockers to access any of their content. Google’s new system will provide ad blocking devotees a choice – either pay a monetary contribution to access the content produced by hard-working monkeys on typewriters who need to be fed peanuts and watered occasionally, or keep blocking out reality.
Ad blockers are said to be responsible for a massive decrease in ad revenue across the online media industry because a lot of websites do not require that visitors switch them off to access content.
The FT is also reporting that Google is working on developing an ad blocker of its own, and the search giant seems to view its new ideas as part of a campaign against the scourge of ad blockers.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice-president of ads and commerce at Google, told the FT: “Consumers are installing ad blockers because of bad, frustrating experiences. They are very broad, blunt options that harm all publishers.”
Ad blockers may diminish the publishers’ income, but if it wasn’t for ad blockers, many of those websites could be made impossible to read if ads were allowed to totally disrupt the reading experience.
Ad blockers are a good thing. The only trick the developers of ad blockers missed is to monetise their ad blockers with schemes which enabled users of ad blockers to pay for using them – and make some of that money available to the websites the users visit.
Perhaps users will then enter a list of their favourite websites which are part of the scheme into their ad blockers so that those websites can receive their micro-payments.
But it seems too late now.
Google, of course, never misses a trick, and is doing something which may well suit both sides – the users and the content publishers.